They never pick up.
Fairly quickly you learn that they will only respond to texts, which works until they decide that they can’t be bothered with that either.
This prompts a conversation that goes something like this: “I am not paying $70 per month for a phone so that you can play games all day…”
And then the light bulb goes on.
But before I go there, I’ll reflect on something that the founder of Level 3, Jim Crowe, used to talk to us about when we were building our network. Actually, it’s what he did not say. In 1997, he did not say he was building a nationwide phone network. Instead, he would refer to the project as a highly scalable, Internet Protocol-based network that would be needed to handle the future of rich media, Big Data applications such as video and, of course, gaming.
(Don’t get me wrong, you can make a phone call on our network. In fact, we handle 10s of billions of phone calls a month. But in Jim’s mind, voice traffic was not going to be the big Kahuna.)
And as it turned out, he was exactly right. Today at Level 3, we provide Internet and infrastructure solutions that enable Massive Multiplayer Online Gaming as well as Casual-Social Gaming. We house gaming servers in our data centers and connect them to the Internet. We connect game developers to each other. We distribute AAA title game launches to consumers on our Content Delivery Network. We deliver game patches and DLC to eager gamers around the globe. And we do this quickly, reliably and securely every day.
This brings us back to the light bulb.
I have spent the last several days at the Casual Connect Gaming Conference in Seattle. It’s been awesome. And what I learned, among other things, is that we can communicate to our preteens via mobile gaming.
So I decided to give that a try. My son spends the summer in New York, visiting his father and various family and friends. After a while, (I say “a while” because he is a preteen and the break is actually kinda nice, at first J) I start to miss him. I want to get a sense of how he is doing without becoming a stalker.
Several months ago, he had sent me an invite to play Draw Something and I was mildly interested but uncommitted to the game. Yesterday, I gave it another go. I drew my picture and pressed send and within minutes I got a response. I felt like I was connected to him and yet playing it cool by not slobbering “I miss u” over a text that, of course, would go unanswered.
Gaming, as it turns out, is a form of communication and social connection that takes place on a phone.
How about you? How are you connecting with your kids over the ‘Net?